Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi has warned the US not to "make trouble out of nothing" in the disputed South China Sea amid reports that the American navy plans to send its ships close to islands claimed by China.
Wang made the remarks during a seminar in Beijing when responding to a question on the US Navy's intention of sending a warship within 12 nautical miles of China's islands in the sea.
"We are checking out the matter," said the foreign minister, state run Xinhua news agency reported today.
"If it is true, we advise the US to think twice before its action," he said, urging them "not to act in an imprudent way and not to make trouble out of nothing".
The strong remarks followed recent remarks by US Defence Secretary Ash Carter during his Australia tour that "make no mistake, the United States will fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows, as we do around the world, and the South China Sea will not be an exception".
"We will do that in the time and places of our choosing," he said adding that US would focus on ensuring freedom of navigation through the South China Sea where, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan contest China's claims of sovereignty all most all of South China Sea.
China faced a piquant situation in the area as US is extending security support to the Vietnam, Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.
The differences persisted despite extensive talks between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping during the Chinese leader's visit to Washington last month.
In scathing commentary against Carter's comments, Xinhua said US Navy is reportedly preparing to conduct "freedom of navigation" operations, sending warships within 12 nautical miles of the disputed islands in the SCS claimed by China.
"Let us not forget that in October 1962, when the Soviet Union was building missile sites in Cuba - not even on US soil - US President Kennedy made it clear in a televised speech that the United States would not 'tolerate the existence of the missile sites currently in place'," it said in reference to the Cuban missile crisis of 1962.
"What on earth makes the United States think China should and will tolerate it when US surface ships trespass on Chinese territory in the South China Sea?," it said.
"China will never tolerate any military provocation or infringement on sovereignty from the United States or any other country, just as the United States refused to 53 years ago," it said.
Read the Xinhua piece here